Allocation and Attribution

The last three months has many of us looking at our portfolios and likely realizing that a well diversified portfolio is an excellent long term strategy for preserving and growing wealth. As markets shift unpredictably different asset classes make up for each other, while still capturing growth.


As the affiliate industry diversifies away from coupon and loyalty towards content the approach should be similar. How affiliate planning is like portfolio management:

  • Pick an allocation strategy that matches your goals

  • Diversify against different asset classes / content types

  • Don’t overreact to market conditions - stick with your partners and you’ll get paid in the long run

  • Bet on your market

Too many affiliate campaigns are like investors listening to Jim Creamer: buying an equity because it’s hot, then not realizing they also have to time the sale perfectly. Affiliate managers should be more like John Bogle than Jim Creamer. Find a diversified strategy that allocates your spend to meet your business goals. Use data to adjust as your learn about the market, diversify your spend so you’re not reliant on one partner, don’t over react to market conditions- develop good relationships - and make a bet on your market and your customers. This is especially true as new types of publishers become more effective. Martech Record’s expert survey indicated that content publishers are the most effective publishers at helping them meet their KPIs, but one of the least invested in. This is also true as affiliate matures moves into new verticals. While Rakuten Rewards may still be responsible for the majority of sales in retail, financial services, B2B and CPG brands rely on different, niche publishers. As you look to provide sustainable growth to your affiliate program consider the following questions:

  • How much of my sales should come from stable and predictable, but low risk publishers and what am I willing to pay to guarantee that return?

  • How can I minimize risk with new types of publishers by finding niche publishers that align with my brand and my KPIs?

  • What are my parameters for testing nee publishers, so that I know when to move on and try another tactic?

  • ​How do I properly attribute revenue so that the publishers that are helping me meet my KPIs are being properly rewarded?


On the Record

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